This Sunday evening Olympique de Marseille entertain Stade Brestois 29 at the Stade Velodrome.
The game will see Marseille attempt to pick up only their second win of the season after a poor start in Ligue 1, whereas Brest arrive at the Velodrome looking to pick up their first win of the season. Marseille will attempt to carry forwards some home momentum after comfortably beating Evian TG in week 7, 2-0, and to many people’s surprise beating Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund, 3-0, in the Champions League earlier this week. That type of form might suggest that the Marseille squad is finally finding its feet under Deschamps this season. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Alex Dupont’s men. Having picked up encouraging points against high flying Olympique Lyonnais and Montpellier HSC, the team from Brittany then failed to capitalise on these results, picking up only 1 point from a possible 6 against newly promoted Dijon FCO (0-1) and AC Ajaccio (1-1) in weeks 7 and 8, leaving them 18th in the league tables.
Marseille will look to build on their formidable record at the Stade Velodrome against Brest having won 7 of 8 games, with the other result a draw.
OM will probably start the game with an identical line up to the team that saw off Dortmund, playing a flexible 4-2-3-1 who will look to push forwards with pace (Mandanda – Azpilicueta, Morel, Diawara, Nkoulou – Diarra, Kabore – Gonzalez, A. Ayew, Valbuena – Remy). Marseille will hope that they can create a number of chances for their forward men with the in form Remy looking dangerous in the air and on the ground, Lucho’s inventive runs and positioning helping to split other teams defences and Ligue 1’s leading assister Valbuena will try to ensure he adds to his 5 assists already this season. Whereas in the league Marseille’s defence have struggled, with any centre-back pairing often looking lost and isolated, on Wednesday they did perform much better against the impressive forward line up of Gotze, Großkreutz and Lewandowski. The defensive instabilities were not as evident with Morel and Diawarra comfortably dealing with any lofted passes and a narrower RB/LB positioning ensuring that OM weren’t suspect to the usual balls played into the channel’s which have caught them out countless times this season. Marseille will be happy that if anything does get past their defence it will still have to get past man-mountain Mandanda. Some of the saves the French international has pulled of this season are truly first class. Marseille will hope they can restrict Brest’s top scorer Lesoimer to shots from distance through the hard work of Diarra and Kabore. Also encouraging for OM is that Ben Basat has only netted once so far this season and Nolan Roux has also struggled to find the form from last season that had seen him linked with both Liverpool and Newcastle United over the summer.
Overall, with the home advantage and their current form (losing only once in the last 5 games) Marseille are the clear favourites to win (OM 3/2, Draw 4/1 and SB29 7/1). My predicted result is OM 3-1 SB29, and from that Marseille and Deschamps should take a little more heart and confidence into the International break before week 10 sees them take a difficult trip west to 3rd placed Toulouse FC.
Swanny (@OMarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)